An independent, not-for-profit platform is to launch to tackle bullying, harassment and discrimination in the hospitality industry.
Hospitality Speaks is set to launch at the end of March, spearheaded by food journalist Victoria Stewart and restaurant PR Hannah Norris.
The campaign is aimed at enabling operators and staff to share ideas for creating a positive work culture and retaining staff, as well as allowing hospitality employees to anonymously share their stories of issues in the sector.
It is hoped the campaign will raise awareness of “the emotional and financial cost of unacceptable behaviour”, and provide examples of employers creating positive work cultures and create an environment in which affected employees feel able to speak out.
“There are a lot of restaurateurs that don’t connect staff happiness with bottom line, they don’t see the correlation between a happy workforce and profit margin,” said Norris, speaking to The Caterer.
“In these uncertain times, particularly in the restaurant industry, I think it’s really important to create that link between staff happiness and a successful restaurant. We thought let’s create a campaign where we can celebrate the good practice in the business and at the same time enable people to share their negative stories if they feel able to.”
The website will provide practical content, including information on support available, and events and discussions are also planned to address the problems, with the aim of creating a hospitality industry standard for behaviour and ethics.
“Neither the hospitality industry nor the public are aware of the extent of toxic behaviour [in hospitality],” says the website.
“Not enough action is being taken to prevent it or to make it easy to report, and there is currently no dedicated, safe place for hearing and sharing stories about it. There is not enough recognition of the link between this and staff retention…
“Nobody benefits from this behaviour or high staff turnover, especially during this time of political uncertainty.”
The platform is currently fundraising with sponsors. No hospitality employers will have any financial input or sway over the platform.